KARACHI (Oct. 20): The home-based workers are playing a crucial role in the economy and it is necessary that their rights be accepted for the progress of the country. On the South Asian home-based workers day, we demand the Sindh government that it should legislate for their rights and get them registered with social security and pension funds like other workers.”
This was said by Zehra Khan, general secretary of the Home Based Women Workers Federation, as she spoke to a rally at Karachi Press Club organized in accordance with the day on October 20. A large number of workers, mostly home-based women workers, participated in the rally in a bid to mobilize for their rights campaign.
Among the other speakers at the rally were National Trade Union Federation president Rafiq Baloch, its deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor, United HB Workers Union president Zahida Mukhtiyar, its general secretary Saira Feroz, HBWWF Sindh information secretary Shabnam, Mazdoor Kisan Party leader Afzal Shah Khamosh, Yousuf, progressive writer Zubair ur Rahman, Fiction house Zahoor Ahmed Khan and Sindh Agriculture General Workers Union (CBA) leader Mushtaq Ali Shan.
The speakers said that on the same day seven years ago, a declaration was passed by South Asian women workers and others unions and federations in Kathmandu, Nepal that a struggle will be waged for the rights, social protection and legal identity of over 50 million home-based workers, of these 80 percent women, in the region.
They appreciated the provincial government for taking the lead in announcing the home-based workers’ policy and insisted that it should be made legislation as well on the priority basis. They said that for over a decade the workers, especially in the province, were struggling for their rights and a draft bill was presented before the provincial government four years ago, yet it was gathering dust as no procedure was carried out to make it a law — and that, on the contrary, is a sheer violation of the Sindh-ruling Pakistan People’s Party manifesto.
Despite a considerable contribution to the economy by them, the home-based workers have been deprived of their rights to Minimum Wage, ethically and legally okayed working hours, social security, pension and others. They said that in textile, leather, garment and shoe industries the home-based women workers were being exploited badly and, besides the local industrialists, the international brands were also equally involved in it.
They said that by observing the day they wanted to push the governments, especially in South Asia where half of the world’s total home-based workers’ force is centered, to legislate and ensure workers rights. They demanded that home-based workers should be accepted as other workers and be registered with the Sindh Employees Social Security and Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution.